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Why I’m Choosing a Career in Bitcoin (Part 1)

September 02, 2020

This is the first post in a 5-part series geared toward business professionals exploring a career in bitcoin. I tell my own story, from knowing nothing about bitcoin to becoming a Certified Bitcoin Professional, as an anecdote from which others in similar situations can draw lessons and insight to make their own decisions about getting involved in this exciting space.

Here, I describe a version of my bitcoin story. The intention is to paint a relatable picture for those interested in bitcoin but who still aren’t really sure what it is or how they can get involved.

This series is powered by Urkel Labs.

A note on terminology: throughout the series I use “bitcoin” to refer to bitcoin the network, or blockchain, and “BTC” to refer to bitcoin the unit, or cryptocurrency. For sake of simplicity and consistency, this series is primarily concerned with bitcoin specifically. However, cryptocurrency and blockchain reach far beyond bitcoin and much of what is covered in this series can be generalized to other projects.

In May 2020, I found myself without a job and looking down the rough road at an ambiguous, arduous journey back to gainful employment. With a recently revamped resume and a long list of target companies and contacts, I began knocking on digital doors. Hundreds of applications, dozens of cold emails and calls, tens of informational interviews. All for next to naught as far as viable job prospects went.

After two months of applying to a variety of tech companies and getting rejected from jobs in data analytics and operations management, my area of expertise, I decided it was time to broaden my horizons. To do this, I revisited the soul-searching canvas with both broad strokes and fine tip brushes.

At a macro level, I asked (and sought out answers to) questions such as: what industries are slated to grow most in the next 3-5 years? Where is innovation happening at an exponential rate? What technologies are posed as the biggest disruptors to how business is conducted?

Within the context of these macro questions, I considered how I might fit into the bigger picture. I was concerned with questions such as: how is my skill set currently valued in these markets? Where are there disconnects between the value I bring and what the market needs? How about education gaps? Where are growth opportunities the greatest?

From a less market-centric perspective, I also contemplated more personal questions. How can I use my career to create positive change in the world? What type of work will I find meaningful and rewarding? How can I be challenged and grow?

Enter bitcoin.

For years, the bitcoin soundtrack has quietly hummed in the background. Intermittently, I’d catch signals of bitcoin and BTC as its news permeated the mainstream. Of course, there were the negative connotations and often unmerited news stories about BTC as “digital money that criminals use”. On a more glamorous side, there were the faces of newly minted millionaires whose products built within the bitcoin ecosystem made them rich, shepherding in a new prototype for the wealthy individual in the digital age. Bitcoin had made its way into my personal life, too. My more tech-obsessed developer friends touted bitcoin’s promise to change the world. They explained to me that bitcoin is more than just a cryptocurrency, that the foundational technology upon which it is built is where the true innovation lies.

All of this more or less fell on deaf ears. As is the case with thousands of others, I’m sure, I dismissed bitcoin as a passing fad. I wrote it off as too technical for a non-developer like me to really understand, let alone to work with. I incorrectly thought of bitcoin simply as a currency and since I’m not that interested in finance I wouldn’t like it. I was intimidated because, as someone with a non-technical background, I thought this “internet money” was beyond my grasp.

All these naive assumptions and false beliefs changed when I actually started to research bitcoin myself. I absorbed as much information as I could - podcasts, documentaries, blog posts, economic reports, conversations. I challenged my inklings and biases as I became more convinced that bitcoin was establishing a foothold as one of the most promising technologies, and with its momentum only gaining, now was the time to join the movement. What I ultimately arrived at was this:

Bitcoin unleashed perhaps the greatest invention since the internet. It’s less than 12 years old and billion dollar industries are building around it. The implications of the decentralized model that Satoshi Nakamoto gave us challenge core aspects of civilization - from finance to governance to privacy and beyond. I want to be part of this momentous epoch in human history.

Now the question was, how can I make money in the bitcoin ecosystem? For that, check out part 2.